Ossining’s Jazz at the Lodge Gets its Groove Back

Organ Groove with Doug Munro.

The sound of the Hammond B3 organ runs through American music like a soulful stream, informing every genre from gospel hymns, to jazz and R&B standards, to some of the most classic rock’n’roll ballads.

Booker T. played one on “Green Onions,” Al Kooper’s B3 let Dylan go electric, Billy Preston soloed on a Hammond on The Beatles’ “Get Back,” and Jimmy Smith’s mastery earned him the title “King of the Jazz Organ.”

The B3’s distinctive sound has found a comfortable home at the Ossining Elks Club, which plays host to the Thursday Organ Groove. The intimate weekly shows feature Paul Connors on keyboard and Jon Doty on drums, joined each week by a third player, usually on guitar or horn.

Connors, who books the guest performers, is an accomplished session man and music teacher. The set list mixes a few of his originals alongside covers that span multiple genres.

The Organ Groove, part of a wider “Jazz at the Lodge” series, has returned this summer after a pandemic-induced shutdown for part of 2020. Performances are held outdoors in the parking lot, moving indoors when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

“That Hammond B3 organ is such a unique and iconic instrument and Paul is just a great player, and when you think about all the music you’ve heard throughout your life there’s a chance there’s been a Hammond B3 in there somewhere if there’s been an organ sound,” said John Codman III, the series’ curator.

Codman first brought jazz to the Croton Avenue club around 2016, sometime after the Elks purchased the property from the owners of the Brasserie Swiss.

“Jazz is a really different and unique art form and it’s uniquely American and it’s something that needs to stay around,” said Codman, a former Ossining village trustee. “People need to be in the presence of that music. It’s a part of saving our culture in many ways for me. I just want to provide a place where musicians and audiences can come together because there’s nothing more inspiring than being in the presence of live music.”

Jazz at the Lodge is expanding to include Saturday night performances, with a Latin jazz show planned for July 24, Codman said. More Saturday shows will be added in the fall.

Jazz at the Lodge

  • Thursday Organ Groove sets continue through the summer beginning at 7 and 8:30 p.m. in the Ossining Elks Club parking lot at 118 Croton Ave. Admission is by a $10 donation that goes to the musicians. If inclement weather forces the show indoors, capacity is limited to about 20 guests. Reservations are suggested.
  • Admission to Saturday night shows is $15. Two sets beginning at 7:30 p.m.
  • The club’s bar and menu are available during showtimes.
  • For information or reservations visit the website at jazzatthelodge.com, send email to jazzatthelodge@gmail.com or call 917-488-7187.

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About the Author: Robert Brum